Yesterday Anouk came over in order to further Woody’s education. I had been taking him out and playing the touch it game as well as continuing his traffic education. He had had a rug on as well as a surcingle. Wrapping the surcingle around him and tightening it (and it was a huge effort to get it around his tum as it was too short…!) and he had been pretty ok with it all. I have discovered that he has an issue with anything being thrown over him, even gently, but once it is on he is not bothered. Therefore, we played more big friendly with the stick and string. His expression was pretty soft throughout and he generally exudes more confidence but he continues to swish his tail. He is showing more irritation with the string being around his bum but the irritation is good – it means that his feelings are coming out and he is expressing himself. However, when he is worried after he has done something or about something that has been done to him, he really presses his head against me, against my hand or just against me. Or he just puts his nose on my hand and stands very still wanting comfort. It is lovely that he does it but I hope it’s not him going too much inside himself. I think that probably when he gets more confidence, that he won’t need to do it so much but for now, I let him and give him time to process and think about it. As I said, it is lovely though!
Anyway, the saddle has been on him twice now – once yesterday and once today. There wasn’t any bucking even when he was sent out on the circle. Yesterday, we made a point of waiting until he calmed himself and asked the question if he could stop. Today, he was much more energised, still no real bucking but he did take off on the circle with rather too much gusto a few times so I stopped when he went off quietly. He, like Frank, gets nervous when he feels that his feet aren’t stable i.e. it’s muddy or slippery and at those moments, he would get faster and more worried and occasionally buck so again, it will be just a case of confidence. Today I took him out of the yard with his saddle on so that we could walk around and get used to it and have a pick of grass and watch the traffic. One biggish traffic spook but he calmed down and we stood by the side of the road watching the cars. We also tried to have some grass but he was a bit too hyped up so not really interested in food. He walked back calmly to yard and it did take me a little while to get the saddle off him while we were standing on the outside of the gate. He wasn’t comfortable with me at his girth and fiddling around with it. Again, I know that it will be fine when he is more confident and I am confident that, if I take it slow and steady with him, that he will get more confident.